My teenage son and twin boys’ have developed a strong sensitivity to tomatoes a couple of years ago. So much so that they develop a rash on their torso and have trouble sleeping. I never realized how much tomato, and tomato-based products we eat until I had to remove it from the kitchen. One of the condiments that we sorely missed was barbecue sauce (tomato being the main ingredient in most), but now we don’t have to!
Ta da! Tomato-free barbecue sauce!
The same tangy, full-flavor barbecue sauce is known for yet without tomatoes and is SO easy to make. Not just for this simple barbecue bolognese pasta meal. Try it as a pizza base, on ribs, steak, grilled chicken, dressing for southwestern-style salads, meatballs, pulled pork … countless ways and it stores well in the fridge.
This may be an unusual pairing to pasta but wait until you try this! Like my Mom says: “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”. She also used to say “You better finish your meal, there are children starving out there!”, but anyways …
We thoroughly enjoyed every barbecue saucy, bolognese-y, carb-filled part of this meal. Enjoy!
To make things even easier, measure all the barbecue sauce ingredients (other than oil, onions, garlic) in one large measuring cup.
Add some grated dairy-free mozzarella ‘cheese’ (we like Daiya) on top, if desired.
- BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
- ⅓ cup coconut oil (or avocado, grape seed oil)
- 1 large yellow onion, sweet or regular, diced (about 2 cups)
- 6 cloves peeled garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup honey, or maple syrup
- 1 cup blackstrap molasses
- ¾ cup yellow mustard (check if GF)
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup coconut amino (see note)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Beef Bolognese:
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 pounds ground beef (preferably organic, grass-fed)
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoons crushed black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups Barbecue sauce (recipe above)
- 2 boxes gluten free pasta shells (or penne, spirals, elbow pasta, I use Andean Dream quinoa pasta)
- 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
- For the barbecue sauce:
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add diced onions, stir occasionally and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Then add garlic and brown sugar, cook another minute. Add all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, then lower to a simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Carefully puree using a hand-held immersion blender or transfer into a blender to make smooth. It should be thick, yet pourable, like barbecue sauce. Set aside 2 cups for the bolognese. Store remaining sauce in a sealed jar. When it has cooled to warm, store in the refrigerator. Will remain fresh for 2 weeks.
- Note: If coconut amino is hard to find locally, try online on Amazon. The barbecue sauce is still tasty without it, but the coconut amino adds a smoky, salty flavor similar to Worcestershire sauce that rounds it out to a more authentic-tasting barbecue sauce.
- For the pasta:
- Set a large pot with water on high heat for the pasta. When it reaches a rolling boil, add kosher salt and pasta shells. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until al dente (firm to the tooth). Drain and set aside.
- For the beef bolognese:
- Meanwhile, add coconut oil to a large sauté pan (large enough to hold the finished pasta) set on medium-high heat. When melted, add onions, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add ground beef, breaking apart any large clumps of meat to bite size. Immediately add kosher salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and garlic powder, mix to combine well. When meat has cooked through (about 8 minutes), add barbecue sauce and give it a final stir. Add drained pasta, stir to combine. Serve immediately.
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